So you bought a house to flip, did a jam-up rehab on it, and already have it under contract with some buyers who love it. Things are going great. During the due diligence period, the buyers pay for a home inspector to go out and look the place over.
Then it happens. Your agent calls and says, after the home inspection, your buyers have concerns. You’re wondering what could possibly be wrong with your wonderful house. You look over the inspection report and take a big gulp. The way things are written, it sounds like your house should be condemned. What should you do next?
First off, take a breath. You need to realize that home inspectors have the job of finding any defects associated with the subject property and reporting them. And they are good at what they do.
We’ve seen all kinds of things listed on home inspections over the years — some warranted and some not so much.
Case in point; There was the time the inspector said the shower in the master bathroom wouldn’t work. Things like that can get your buyers worried. When we saw it on the report, Ashley and I found it strange since we had to have water to clean the shower.
After we went over to examine the situation, we realized the master bathroom had a one-knob shower valve. But instead of the water coming on when you turned the knob from left to right, you first had to pull the knob out. We showed that to the buyers, and they calmed down.
I tell you this to let you know that home inspectors are people and they can sometimes make mistakes. So just because something is listed on the home inspection doesn’t mean it’s a real issue.
Here’s one on a current inspection. In the notes about the HVAC system, the inspector says the equipment is original to the house, which was built in 1996, and he recommends having a home warranty to cover the equipment due to its age. That sounds reasonable doesn’t it? It’s 2017. That makes the equipment 21 years old.
The problem is both the interior and exterior units are 2008 models. We know that because our licensed HVAC contractor installed them. He went over the ages of the units with us when he came out to service them.
The erroneous assumption that our equipment was 21 years old, when it was only nine years old, was listed on the inspection report summary under the heading “Major Concerns.” These kinds of things can scare the dickens out of your buyer.
We also had a leaky shower valve in the common bath. This happens frequently in vacant houses. While not in use, the rubber gaskets inside the shower valve will dry out causing things to not seal correctly. In the same major concerns section, this inspector made the recommendation that we replace the valve.
Replacing a shower valve is a big deal that involves cutting into sheetrock, replacing the plumbing, and then repairing the holes. That’s a lot of time and money. Especially when a plumber can repair the issue by removing a few screws.
In this situation, the home inspector should have deferred to a licensed contractor instead of issuing recommendations he wasn’t qualified to make. Because he did, it scared our buyers and “replace the valve” was listed as a repair on the amendment to address concerns addendum to our contract. Now I have to go explain why that’s not what we’re going to do, and I risk losing a sale.
I’m not beating up on home inspectors. Truthfully we hire one on most of our houses before we start working. I’m just telling you to realize home inspectors are not licensed contractors, and when you’re selling houses, you should do your due diligence on any inspection before you sign the amendment to address concerns.
Joe and Ashley English buy houses and mobile homes in Northwest Georgia. For more information or to ask a question, go to www.cashflowwithjoe.com or call Joe at 678-986-6813.